Category Archives: CEO compensation

Jack Lew’s Grotesque Citi Employment Deal and the Institutionalization of Corruption

Corruption has now become so routine in Washington that improprieties far worse than Turbo Timmie’s implausible failure to pay taxes on income from his days working as a consultant to the World Bank barely evoke a yawn from the media. Apparently the fourth estate is either so bedazzled by star turns, like Michelle Obama presenting at the Oscars (!!!) or so cowed by the prospect of being cut off from information that it dutifully falls in line.

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Citi Cuts 11,000 Jobs Rather Than Lower Pay, Illustrating Rentier Capitalism in Operation

Citi is a particularly blatant example of a way of operating that has become endemic in American business: when things get tough, throw as many employees as possible under the bus, and use that to maintain or even increase the pay of the top echelon.

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Wolf Richter: Competitiveness Cacophony – Attack On France’s Sacred Cow

The French government has been flailing about to counter economic trends that started while Nicolas Sarkozy was still president. And one of the most bandied-about catchwords these days is “competitiveness”—entailing the cherished and untouchable 35-hour workweek, equally untouchable wages, and sky-high employer-paid payroll taxes and social security charges. An explosive mix.

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Michael Crimmins: Why Hasn’t Jamie Dimon Been Fired by His Board Yet?

By Michael Crimmins, who has worked on risk management and Sarbanes Oxley compliance for major banks

JP Morgan’s jawdropping revelations in its Friday earnings call don’t seem to be attracting the attention they deserve. The market may have shrugged off the size of the losses and the corporate governance modifications plans, but the announcement opens the door wide for the next phase of this scandal. The biggest question is whether Jamie Dimon should keep his job.

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Bob Diamond Performs “Je Ne Regrette Rien”

As much as I would have liked to have seen the Bob Diamond testimony before Parliament yesterday (a previously booked flight ruled that out), I should probably consider myself lucky. Comments by readers and tooth-gnashing reports from the British press indicate that Diamond is an apt student of the well honed CEO practice of shirking responsibility and shameless denials. Those strategies go a long way in stymieing efforts to get insight, at least in the setting of a legislative grilling. Some of it is the time constraints on each interviewer: they can only go so long before they have to turn the mike over to a colleague. I’d love to see a real prosecutor, with the luxury of time and the ability to do serious discovery before deposing executives, go after some of these fearless leaders.

The most theatrical moment of the day appears to have been when MP John Mann went full bore into Diamond.

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Mark Ames: Failing Up With Citigroup’s Dick Parsons

Last month, shareholders finally rebelled against Citigroup, the worst of the Too Big To Fail bailout disasters, by filing a lawsuit against outgoing chairman Dick Parsons and handful of executives for stuffing their pockets while running the bank into the ground.

Anyone familiar with Dick Parsons’ past could have told you his term as Citigroup’s chairman would end like this: Shareholder lawsuits, executive pay scandals, and corporate failure on a colossal scale.

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William Lazonick: How High CEO Pay Hurts the 99 Percent

Corporations are not working for the 99 percent. But this wasn’t always the case. In a special five-part series, William Lazonick, professor at UMass, president of the Academic-Industry Research Network, and a leading expert on the business corporation, along with journalist Ken Jacobson and AlterNet’s Lynn Parramore, will examine the foundations, history and purpose of the corporation to answer this vital question: How can the public take control of the business corporation and make it work for the real economy?

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Spain’s “Indignados” and the Globalization of Dissent

Real News Network highlighted a foreign broadcast on Spain’s “indignados,” and the way they have been providing advice to other anti-neoliberal movements around the world. I’m not sure it has gotten the attention it warrants, but the people that were involved in Occupy Wall Street early on conferred a good deal with seasoned protestors in Spain and Egypt.

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American Exceptionalism and Euro-Bashing, Adam Davidson Style

Adam Davidson has an article in the Sunday New York Times Magazine, “The Other Reason Europe is Going Broke,” that manages the impressive feat of making you stupider than before you read it. It misrepresents most of the few facts it contains in appealing to American prejudices about our cultural, or in this case, economics superiority, to sell worker bashing.

Davidson uses the spectacle of Europe going into an economic nosedive to claim that one of the big things wrong with Europe is its spoiled workers. The piece is anchored in a glaring, fundamental misrepresentation. It argues that Americans are much better off than Europeans because we have a higher GDP per capita (more on that in due course) and asserts that that is because Europeans are not able to compete in world markets:

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“Let Them Eat Pink Slips”: CEO Pay Shot Up in 2010

One of the big differences between private companies and public ones is private ones care a lot more about preserving their franchise, which includes their staff. In the old days of Wall Street (which I do not romanticize as a golden era, but man, it looks better than what we have now) partner would take bare bones pay in bad years to keep comp level for everyone else adequate. Similarly, in the 1970s and 1980s, when a company faced headwinds, and in particular, had to cut staff, it would be seen as a sign of poor leadership to a CEO to raise his pay.

Now that a two decades of executive pay increases way in excess of economic fundamentals and stock price increases have firmly established that shareholders be damned, CEOs have become even more aggressive in playing their “heads I win, tails you lose” game with stakeholders.

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Taleb: End Bonuses at Too Big to Fail Banks

This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. Over 475 donors have already invested in our efforts to shed light on the dark and seamy corners of finance. Join us and participate via our Tip Jar or read about why we’re doing this fundraiser and other ways to donate on our kickoff post and one discussing our current target.

The fact that the New York Times is running as its lead op-ed a piece by Nassim Nicholas Taleb arguing against any bank bonuses points to a hardening sentiment among the elites against the banks.

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